4 Road Trip Tips For a Safe Trip
At Autio, road tripping is our favorite way to get to our destinations. Whether it’s a drive through the state or a cross-country adventure, a road trip always leads to unforgettable memories. After all, it’s about the journey and not the destination, right?
Like any form of travel, road tripping has its hazards. From car issues to wild animals, there is a range of scenarios that every road tripper might encounter. While long distance road trips bring spontaneity, fun detours, and attractions you'd never considered, a little bit of preparation can bring you peace of mind—especially if you're roadtripping with kids!
Whether you're a road trip rookie or a veteran behind the wheel, we want you to be as safe as possible on your next adventure. Keep reading learn all the info you need on potential road trip hazards and how to stay safe during your amazing journey.
1. How Can I Make Sure My Vehicle Is Safe?
When you’re making memories out on the road, the car you drive is essential. When you’re covering hundreds or even thousands of miles on end, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that your vehicle won’t give up on you.
Car issues not only cost time and money, but they can also be dangerous. In addition to potentially causing accidents, mechanical issues can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere without cell service.
So, what should you check before you hit the road?
When was the last time you got your oil changed? Oil changes are generally recommended every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, depending on your car. Before setting out on your journey, consider getting an oil change to prevent unforeseen issues.
Replenish Your Fluid Levels
While you’re getting your oil changed, it’s also a good idea to top off your other fluids. This includes your coolant, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. You can also replace your wiper blades before you set off if you notice that they're making noise or leaving streaks.
Check Your Tires
Low tire pressure can negatively impact your fuel efficiency and cause your ties to overheat. You can purchase a tire pressure gauge (a recommended item for any road trip) to check your tire pressure.
You can refill your tires with an air hose at most gas stations if your pressure is low. Keep in mind that the recommended tire pressure will be noted on the outside of your tires.
You also will want to check your tire tread. You should replace tires with less than 3/32” of tread before your road trip as they may not be able to provide your car with the necessary traction—or even blow out on the road.
Getting your tires rotated every time you go in for an oil change can help ensure even tread wear, prolonging the life (and health!) of your tires.
Don’t Forget Your Filters
A clean air filter will result in improved fuel efficiency and performance. You’ll also want to check the cabin filter, as this regulates the air quality in the interior of the car. You don’t want to be breathing dirty air for hours on the road.
Check Out Your Battery
The last thing anyone wants on the road trip of a lifetime is a dead battery. While we always recommend bringing jumper cables, it’s best to avoid a dead battery altogether if you can. If the sound of your starter is sluggish, it may indicate a corroded or dying battery.
2. What Supplies Do I Need?
It’s easy to think we can stop for everything we need on the road, but that isn’t always the case.
Depending on your trip, you may experience long drives through the middle of nowhere with no civilization in sight. This situation can even become dangerous in a car accident or breakdown. Thankfully, roadtrippers can safely explore the small towns and national parks of America without delays or hazards—it just comes down to packing everything you need for everything the road throws your way.
To avoid any and all complications, make sure you have the following items with you:
Long road trips are often synonymous with fast food meals and gas station snacks. While options like burgers and chips are convenient, their high sodium and fat contents can cause digestive issues and leave you feeling lethargic. No one wants that when they’re traveling in a steel box.
Plus, you’ll want to have your own provisions when you find yourself 50 miles away from the nearest grocery store with no fast food in sight. Nutritious snacks are always a must when you’re on the road.
Healthy snacks like trail mix, apples, and peanut butter sandwiches can help you beat the hungry grumpies before they can cast a damper on your good time. Water bottles can also save the day if you can't find somewhere to refill your trusty reusable bottles.
You can also consider bringing a cooler and camp stove if you're on a longer trip. Fueled by propane or butane, these stoves can be very compact and allow you to cook your own meals. This is often the cheapest and healthiest option, and it's great during spur-of-the-moment camping trips or a fun mid-day hike.
Whether or not you’re on a road trip, you should always keep a fully-stocked first aid kit in your car. According to the American Red Cross, the first aid essentials you want in your kit include aspirin, antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone ointment, and an oral thermometer.
As far as bandages go, you’ll want a smorgasbord of compress dressings, adhesive bandages, cloth tape, gauze rollers, and gauze pads.
Wrap up your first-aid kit with an emergency blanket, non-latex gloves, and a pair of tweezers. Don’t forget an emergency first aid guide to walk you through any injury you might encounter.
Roadside Emergency Gear
While you always want to prevent emergencies, you should also be ready to respond when they arise. Roadside assistance can help, but they can't always get to you when you need them. Bad cell service can hinder even the best-laid plans.
From minor car issues to serious accidents, you should have access to basic roadside emergency gear throughout your trip like a flashlight, jumper cables, a lug wrench, a spare tire, a portable jump-starter, and a flare.
You should also download maps of your route just in case you hit one of those dreaded cell phone dead spots.
3. How Do I Optimize My Fuel Efficiency?
Gas prices can be expensive, but an empty fuel tank is even more costly when there is no gas station around. Running out of fuel far from any gas station can be stressful, especially when no help is around.
Here are steps you can take to make the most of the fuel in your tank:
- Accelerating gradually can increase your fuel efficiency by 30 percent
- Gas burns slower when purchased at the coolest time of day
- Maintaining a consistent, moderate speed will burn less gas
- Keep your windows close to increase aerodynamics
- Avoid driving on rough roads
- Remove excess weight from your car
- Keep your tires pressurized to their maximum pressure
If you’re renting a car, you may want to spring for one with good gas mileage. While SUVs can provide a lot of comfort, a sedan will be financially and ecologically friendly.
4. How Can I Drive Safely?
Unfortunately, car accidents are an all-too-common occurrence on U.S. roads. The amount of driving that road trips require only heightens your chances of getting into a fender bender.
Thankfully, you can take measures to keep yourself as safe as possible from potential hazards:
- Change lanes when aggressive drivers appear on the road
- Avoid pulling over onto the side of the road––especially at night
- Make sure your gas tank is full before heading into a deserted area
- Take breaks and stretch at rest stops
- Switch drivers and check into a hotel if you’re tired, or sleep in your car if there are no other options—you can even keep camping gear in your car and make these stops part of your adventure
- Keep your mind occupied with entertainment like podcasts, playlists, audiobooks, or conversation to avoid highway hypnosis
Start Exploring With Autio
Autio is all about ensuring that you have the safest and most memorable road trip possible. Even though the road has some unknowns, arming yourself with knowledge can help you have the best road trip of your life.
With our app, you can make the most of our journey with our wide range of content, specially curated for travelers like you. From New York to California, you can learn all about the glorious American roads you’re passing through with stories that will make you feel like a local.
Whether you’re off to get lost in a big city or seek inner peace among natural beauty, Autio can make your trip one of a kind. You can download Autio for all the information you need to make the absolute best of your adventure with bite-sized stories about the world around you.
Download Autio today, and get ready to hit the road.